T Nation

Bodybuilding in Japan

There’s a good chance that I might be going
to Japan for an extended period of time (like
6 mos). Just wondering if anyone can give me
some insight as to what to expect with regard
to gyms, supps, grocery stores etc. I’ve heard it’s pretty weak. Anyone have any experience with gyms and getting supps over there? Thanks.

I have a friend that went to Japan for a year with a Rotary Club exchange. From what I remember her telling me I hope you like fish and rice - but then again she was in no way interested in bodybuilding so even if the stuff you are looking for was right under her nose she would not have noticed.

Free, I’ve been here for almost ten years now and can tell you everything you need to know about this, including how to get Biotest supps cheap! But I don’t have time to do it right this minute (flying out on business in about an hour). Repost this on Wednesday (the 11th) and I’ll help you out when I get back to my computer…

char-dawg: OK, thanks. I’ll repost if
necessary, and look for your response.

Hey char-dawg, if you’re out there - sorry for
the delay on the follow up to this. I’ve
been crazy busy and kinda forgot about it
until a couple nights ago when my girlfriend
brought it up again. Anyway, here’s the
deal: my girlfriend (whom I’m semi-serious
with) is half Japanese and has a boat load
of relatives in Japan. She’s currently
studying linguistics and japanese and wants
to teach english to japanese students (either
in Japan or US). She wants to live over in
Japan for a while and she wants me to go with
her. Quite frankly I don’t know if I can
cope with living over in Japan but … I
might end up going, or not. Anyway if you
could fill me in on what the scene is like
over there with regard to gyms, supplements
and grocery stores I’d appreciate it. We’d
either be in the Tokyo area or the Kyoto area.
I noticed from another thread that you are in
Hiroshima. I also noticed that you “own/run a
language school” - so maybe you have some
experience about “language school” that my
gf might be interested in? Thanks.

bump for char-dog

Hi Free. Yeah, I kinda wondered what had happened to this thread… Anyway, yes, I have all the experience anyone could ever POSSIBLY want regarding Japan, language schools, buying supps and so on.


First, I have to say that I’ve never lived in either Kyoto or Tokyo. So I don’t know details about what those places are like. (I assume that your GF has relatives there…?) But in Hiroshima there is a definite dearth of good bb food. Grocery stores generally have healthy choices (lots of fruits & veggies and so on), but the daily diet here is definitely lacking in protein. So you have to supplement.


The good news is that Biotest has a rep out here who’s pretty cool, understands English (I’m assuming you don’t speak Japanese) and is very punctual. The bad news is that everything costs an arm a dick and a leg. But if you order in bulk he’ll give you a good discount.


As for gyms, you can usually find some good ones around. I know that there’s a Gold’s in Tokyo, and I think there may be one in Kyoto as well (not sure). I personally train in a small, very hardcore place that’s one of the best gyms I’ve ever been in. And there’s another similar one on the other side of town. So if Hiroshima has two, I’m sure that both Kyoto and Tokyo have some that you could find with a bit of searching. No worries on that point.


Finally, living abroad is a kick. I don’t know if you’ve done it before or not, but my personal opinion is that everyone should experience it at least once in their lives. Of course, Japan is very different from America or anywhere else in the West, so there is the culture shock factor to consider. But if you’re adaptable and if you have an ear for languages it shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle.


Don’t know what else to tell you. Let me know if you have any more questions. Oh, and if your GF needs a job, ask her to email me. (If you go to able4language.com you can check out my school’s webpage - It’s still very much a work in progress, but…) My degree is also in linguistics, and I’m looking to hire a full-time teacher pretty soon. If she can speak Japanese, so much the better.

Thanks for the info char. Yeah, my gf has
family in Tokyo and Kyoto, so she’d probably
rather live & work in those areas than
Hiroshima. Thanks for the offer though. She
speaks some Japanese but isn’t fluent yet.
I don’t speak a word of Japanese, although
I became semi-fluent in spanish pretty easily,
so I guess I’d learn to get by. I’ve lived
outside the US before, and I’m quite
adaptable, so I’m not really worried about
the culture shock. Plus, I can do my work
from anywhere that I can get adequate high
speed inet connectivity. Sounds like the
gyms over there would be fine. My biggest
concern is the grocery situation over there. I
can deal with everything else, but if I can’t
get the quality food I need, that would be a
deal killer. She and I will have to take a
“test run” vacation for a few weeks and see
how that goes - I’ll be able to check out the
grocery situation then. Whenever that happens,
I’ll let you know what I find in Kyoto and
Tokyo. I have your biz contact email and web
site now, so what I can do is send you an
email later when I’m pursuing this. Once I
get over there, maybe I’ll be able to make
a trip down to your area and we can hit some
iron. Thanks again for the info. Later.

I went to Osaka a few months ago for a three week vacation, and found a supplement store that carried FAR more product than any store around here (it’s in the Holiday Inn Shinsaibashi, in case you visit Osaka). They even carried a few (not just one) #4 IronMind grippers. Unfortunately, supplements in Japan are much more expensive than in the US (for the same products, no less). I recommend that you bring as much as you can with you. Fill up a big ass box and either take it with you or ship it over. BTW, supplements are far easier to find than actual gyms! It took us two days to find what I believe was the gym in all of Osaka (eight of us were training at mid-day… seven housewives and me benching 185 kg. I felt out of place). Of course, lean eating is easy, though I’m not sure how you’ll get 4000 calories per day. Otherwise, it’s a great country to visit. Enjoy.

P.S., bring oatmeal with you! Trust me on this one. It’s sold in Japan, but it’s quite hard to find! And 4000 calories of fish, rice, and zero grams fiber sucks (I know). Also, any Japanese person that sees you eating oatmeal will probably laugh and tell you that it looks like animal food (it probably won’t ever catch on as a mainstream Japanese food).

No sweat. Hope your trial run goes well! And yeah, if you do end up coming here then by all means let’s schedule a workout or two together. I’ve been wanting to hook up with someone from the T-Mag community for a while now…but somehow it just doesn’t seem to be happening… :slight_smile:

In response to Mark’s comments, the part about oatmeal is very true. But then again, if you’re going to be here for more than a couple of months, there’s an outfit called the Foreign Buyer’s Club that can get you most any “regular” food product from an American supermarket.

Hey, Ko and I are planning a trip - we’re calling it our “Asian Tour”. Intending on hitting the Guangdong provence (formerly Canton), and then hitting Japan. I’d like to say by next year, but I don’t think that soon. But someday! Hey, do you watch “Iron Chef”?